From Product Discovery to Innovation Creation Trajectory of the Innovative Content Platform “Elements”
TANAKA Precious Metals, which has been in business for over 130 years, has transformed its customer engagement and digital presence in overseas markets through the operation of its global website for its industrial business and the “Elements” owned media that runs on the site. Launched in 2015, “Elements” combines high-quality global content with in-house content to create a medium that transcends traditional marketing. How did owned media double the number of visits to the English-language version of the site in one year in 2022. Kyohei Koshiba of the Corporate Communications & Advertising Department of TANAKA Holdings Co., Ltd. who has led the production and operation of “Elements,” talks about the process and how the company is promoting its commitment to becoming a “200-year company.”
Provide a venue for innovation creation, not for product discovery
Kyohei Koshiba reflects on the ambitious vision of “Elements”: “Our strategy was to create a platform for our customers to realize new innovations, not just a place to discover products,” he says.
▲ Kyohei Koshiba, Corporate Communications & Advertising Department, Corporate Sustainability & Communications Division, TANAKA Holdings Co., Ltd.
Launched in 2015, this owned media is a website that utilizes content marketing (a marketing method that uses internally produced content rather than advertisements). What sets “Elements” apart from other traditional owned media is that it fully expresses the TANAKA Precious Metals slogan, “Mastering Precious Metals,” with curated content gathered from media around the world and TANAKA’s original content, which provides information about the company.
“Precious metals are at the heart of every innovation. The eight elements, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, from which the media name “Elements” is derived, are fundamental to semiconductors that support AI and other cutting-edge computer industries, and EVs that will revolutionize mobility in the 21st century and beyond. We have continued to communicate through “Elements” in order to provide a place for customers to explore and discover the possibilities of what kind of innovation we can achieve together with our company,” said Koshiba.
TANAKA Precious Metals is engaged in three main businesses. The Asset Business provides precious metals to individuals, the Jewelry Business supports the luxury industry, including jewelry, and the Industrial Business provides precious metals to various industries, including semiconductors. Before the creation of “Elements” for the industrial business, the website only contained product information and basic company information such as locations.
“Until then, most of our customers learned about us by searching for our products on search engines. However, that was the only way they could learn about our products. We have diverse aspects: we are involved in cutting-edge industries through our precious metals business, and we are actively working on environmental issues, energy measures, and recycling to create a more prosperous and sustainable society. We would like to make these more in-depth and accessible to a wider population.”
Currently, TANAKA continuously updates curated articles on the latest technologies and trends in various industries from around the world, as well as a full range of TANAKA’s original content that provides information on TANAKA Precious Metals products, technologies, and corporate initiatives from every possible angle. A wider range of users than ever before have visited the site, and it is the main channel of flow to the “Elements” industry global site.
Delivering a content-driven, global strategy
One of the unique features of “Elements” is its curated content, which includes the latest news at the intersection of economics, science, technology, and precious metals from international sources, selected by a full-time science writing expert. It is, so to speak, the only newsroom where information on precious metal innovations can be gathered from around the world. These articles are also published in English, contributing to the company’s global strategy.
“Currently, about 80% of all visits to the English-language version of our industrial business site are via articles in “Elements.” We believe we have been able to realize our global strategy through content-driven owned media management,” said Koshiba.
Between fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022, the number of accesses to the English version of the site doubled. Koshiba analyses this success by saying, “The essence of curated content is to connect our company with overseas local economies through information trust.” There is high-quality content reported by top journalists, such as “The Guardian,” a leading British newspaper, and “Bloomberg,” a leading U.S. newspaper providing news on finance, the economy, and technology. This highly reliable news is connecting the world and TANAKA Precious Metals and opening up new business.
“The fact that our highly credible content is the catalyst for people to get to know us and become our business partners is truly an ideal global strategy. “Elements” is an important part of solidifying the TANAKA Precious Metals’ position as a global brand,” said Koshiba.
Sharing information sensitivity leads to trust as a company
Sharing the information sensitivity of the TANAKA Precious Metals is another point of emphasis in “Elements.” “Elements” constantly updates its readers on the leading companies in the computer industry, such as smartphones and semiconductors, as well as on companies in next-generation industries, such as electric vehicles and space exploration. In addition to these updates, the site introduces the results of cutting-edge research being conducted at world-class universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), selected research that has the potential to lead the industry in the future.
“Many of our customers are in new business development departments or research positions that are pioneering new innovations in their companies. We provide information that is useful for those people who are extremely sensitive to information. Introducing cutting-edge research from around the world, in other words, means sharing the information sensitivity of the TANAKA Precious Metals, so we are always conscious of this.”
The same emphasis on information sensitivity applies to TANAKA’s original content. “We position the curated content of “Elements” as the “left-brain” type that controls logical thinking, and TANAKA’s original content as the “right-brain” type that controls sensory and emotional thinking. Through interviews with our researchers and other employees in various roles, we delve deeply into the passion and vision they have in their daily work and try to convey our thoughts as TANAKA Precious Metals to our readers, who are our customers,” says Koshiba.
▲ Koshiba works with Rie Kato (left) and Kazuko Shimano (right), also from the Corporate Communications & Advertising Department, to promote TANAKA Precious Metals.
“Elements” fosters a deep understanding and empathy for innovation, and a fusion of knowledge and sensitivity. In this way, we can say that we are developing quality business partners with whom we can share information sensitivity.
Creating a social dialogue as a “200-year company”
Another form of communication that “Elements” enables is collaboration with outside media. “What customers want to know most is ‘what the company is thinking now.’ In order to convey this information, it is important to collaborate with outside media as well as to send out information from within the company,” Koshiba reflects.
So far, we have collaborated with “Business Insider,” a New York-based provider of business and economic news, and “Nikkei Business” in Japan, among others, to produce articles. This has allowed the company to reach customers who we don’t have access to through “Elements.”
For example, an article in “Business Insider” introducing the “RE Series” of recycled precious metal materials offered by TANAKA Precious Metals, which use only 100% recycled materials, generated many inquiries. The company’s sustainability efforts through environmental issues, energy measures, and recycling were also featured in “Nikkei Business,” which is helping to increase social recognition. As Koshiba says, “Collaboration with outside media goes beyond attracting customers to seeking new points of connection with society and the world.” Koshiba is playing a role in the further development of TANAKA Precious Metals, a long-established company, by incorporating all kinds of communication methods.
“We are now working to become a 200-year company,” Koshiba concluded, describing the future media strategy of TANAKA Precious Metals, which was founded in 1885.
“In 2085, we will celebrate our 200th year in business, and in order to achieve this milestone, more and more new customers must come to know us as a partner in creating new industries. We will continue to ‘master precious metals.’ However, the way our customers get to know us is changing every day. We would like to be aware of these changes as we continue our dialogue with our customers and with society.”